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The moon, intelligent life, International Dance Day
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Published Thursday, April 29, 2021 @ 2:12 AM EDT
Apr 29 2021

Remembering Michael Collins (October 31, 1930 – April 28, 2021), who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969 while his crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made the first crewed landing on the surface. Armstrong died in 1982 from complications of bypass surgery. Aldrin, the sole surviving crewmember, is 91 .


Taken while orbiting the moon in 1969, Collins is
the only human, living or dead who is not in this photo.

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Quote of the day: "He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed."
-T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia).

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If it Ducks like a Quack:

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Lifehack: Avoid frozen TV dinners that feature stuffing. TV dinner stuffing is treated by the digestive system in a manner similar to corn, the major difference being that corn is not cube-shaped with sharp corners.

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Yeah, I know how that feels:

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Among other things, today is National Peace Rose Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day, Poem in your Pocket Day, Viral Video Day, We Jump the World Day, World Wish Day, and National Zipper Day.

It's also International Dance Day

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Remembering Rod McKuen (b. Rodney Marvin McKuen-April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015), one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. McKuen's translations and adaptations of the songs of Jacques Brel were instrumental in bringing the Belgian songwriter to prominence in the English-speaking world. His poetry deals with themes of love, the natural world and spirituality. McKuen's songs sold over 100 million recordings worldwide, and 60 million books of his poetry were sold as well. (Click here for quotes by Rod McKuen)

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Willie Nelson (b. Willie Hugh Nelson on April 29, 1933) is 88 today.

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Remembering Tammi Terrell (b. Thomasina Winifred Montgomery; April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970), a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye.

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Tommy James (b Thomas Gregory Jackson on April 29, 1947) is 74 today.

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Jerry Seinfeld (b. Jerome Allen Seinfeld on April 29, 1954) is 67 today.


"You're a comedian with the President going nowhere.
Back it up."

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Kate Mulgrew (b. Katherine Kiernan Maria Mulgrew on April 29, 1955) is 66 today.

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Uma Thurman (b. Uma Karuna Thurman on April 29, 1970) is 51 today.

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On this date in 1992, riots erupted in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 63 people are killed and hundreds of buildings are destroyed.


Categories: Apollo 11, Marvin Gaye, Michael Collins, Motown, Rod McKuen, Rodney King, Tammi Terrell, Tommy James, Uma Thurman, Willie Nelson


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Debt, beer bubbles, cricket burgers, what to do with Vaseline.
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Published Friday, April 23, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Apr 23 2021

It's Friday!

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From Wonkette: Republicans wake from four year coma and remember they are PASSIONATE about FEDERAL DEBT.

Finally, scientists have estimated the number of bubbles in a glass of beer.

Fresh Acqusitions LLC, the parent company of buffet chains Ryan's, Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Fire Mountain, and Furr's, and Tahoe Joe's, a steakhouse chain in California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Russia plans to launch its own space station after quitting ISS. And China is set to launch first module of massive space station. NASA better call Airbnb.

'The Supreme Court ruled in favor of scam artists,' FTC chief says after justices gut agency's powers. In a 9-0 ruling, the justices said the Federal Trade Commission cannot force companies that engage in wrongdoing to pay restitution to consumers.

The man who put his head inside a particle accelerator while it was switched on. Not the brightest photon in the synchrotron.

13 unorthodox uses for petroleum jelly (aside from that one). My grandfather used to ask my grandmother, "Who put the sand in your Vaseline?"

Flushing the toilet is more dangerous than you think: study. Noroviruses, microorganisms, and even the novel coronavirus can all spread through aerosols released in flushing. That's why I always close the lid before flushing. Also resolves the leaving the seat up issue.

Facebook to incorporate user feedback on News Feed arrangement. This would be helpful, in the unlikely event I ever decided to put any more effort into Facebook.

A neglected protein-rich 'superfood': insects. Crickets produce up to 80% less methane than cows and 8-12 times less ammonia than pigs. But I think I'll pass on the cricket burger, thanks.

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Thought of the day: "Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny."-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

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Among other things, today is Day of Silence, English Language Day, German Beer Day, Impossible Astronaut Day, International Creator Day, International Nose Picking Day, International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, Lover's Day, Movie Theatre Day, National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Lost Dog Awareness Day, National Picnic Day, Saint George's Day, Spanish Language Day, Take a Chance Day, Talk Like Shakespeare Day, World Book and Copyright Day, World Book Night, and World Laboratory Day.

Remembering Shirley Temple (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014)

Remembering Roy Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988)

Lee Majors (birth name Harvey Lee Yeary) is 82 today.

Remembering Sandra Dee (born Alexandra Zuck; April 23, 1942 – February 20, 2005)

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On this day in 1965, Motown released The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)." The single, written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland topped the Billboard's R&B chart for nine weeks (being named the biggest R&B single of the year by Billboard) and also peaked at number one on the Hot 100 for two non-consecutive weeks.

On this day in 1993, Pete Townshend's musical "Tommy" premiered on Broadway.

On this day in 2001, Fatboy Slim released his single "Weapon of Choice." The music video was directed by Spike Jonze, starred Christopher Walken dancing, and is one of the greatest music videos in the history of music videos. In my opinion.

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Have a good weekend. See you Monday!


Categories: Christopher Walken, Facebook, Fatboy Slim, Food, Four Tops, Lee Majors, Motown, Pete Townshend, Sandra Dee, Shirley Temple, Spike Jonze, Tommy


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Remembering "The best bass player ever"
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Published Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 2:24 AM EDT
Aug 02 2012

James Lee Jamerson (January 29, 1936 - August 2, 1983) was the uncredited bassist on most of Motown Records' hits in the 1960s and early 1970s. He is now regarded, along with fellow Motown bassist and Pittsburgh native Bob Babbitt, as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Starting in 1959, Jameson found steady work at Berry Gordy's Hitsville U.S.A. studio, home of the Motown record label. There he became a member of a core of studio musicians who informally called themselves The Funk Brothers. The small, close-knit group performed on most Motown recordings during the 1960s. Jamerson's earliest Motown sessions were performed on double bass, but in the early 1960s he switched to a Fender Precision electric bass

Jamerson, like most of the other Funk Brothers, were jazz musicians who had been recruited by Gordy. For many years, they maintained a typical schedule of recording during the day at Motown's small garage "Studio A" (which they nicknamed "the Snakepit"), then playing gigs in the jazz clubs at night. They also occasionally toured the U.S. with Motown artists. For most of their career, the members of the Funk Brothers went uncredited on Motown singles and albums, and their share of record sales was considerably less than the artists or the label received. Eventually, Motown placed Jamerson on a $1,000 per week retainer.

Jamerson's discography at Motown is a catalog of the major soul hits of the 1960s and 1970s, including "Shotgun" by Junior Walker & the All Stars; "For Once in My Life", "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder; "Going to a Go-Go" by The Miracles; "My Girl" by The Temptations, "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas; "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and later by Marvin Gaye; "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "Bernadette" by the Four Tops; and "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. According to fellow Funk Brothers in the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Gaye was desperate to have Jamerson play on "What's Going On", and went to several bars to find the bassist. When he did, he brought Jamerson to the studio, who then played the classic line while lying flat on his back, a feat prospective Motown bassists had to duplicate if they wanted to join the Funk Brothers.

Some sources claim Jamerson played on roughly 95 per cent of Motown recordings between 1962 and 1968. He eventually performed on nearly 30 number one pop hits— surpassing the record commonly attributed to The Beatles. On the R&B charts, nearly 70 of his performances went to the top. (via Wikipedia).

This YouTube video consists of just the vocal and bass track of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." The complex bass line was improvised by Jamerson during the recording session, and is one of the best examples of the bass countermelodies that helped to give Motown its distinctive sound. The recording isn't the best, but it reveals Jamerson's talent and personality.

From the mid to late 60s, Jamerson split recording duties with native Pittsburgher Bob Babbit, who died on July 16 of this year.


Categories: Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, Marvin Gaye, Motown, Music, Tammi Terrell, YouTube


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Bob Babbitt (1937-2012): The Motown legend from Pittsburgh
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Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 12:30 AM EDT
Jul 17 2012


Bob Babbitt
(1937-2012)

Bob Babbitt, the bass guitarist who provided the driving, iconic bass lines for "Cool Jerk," "Band of Gold," "The Tears of a Clown," and scores of other hits, died yesterday of brain cancer. He was 74.

Born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh on November 26, 1937, Babbitt was a member of Motown's house band, The Funk Brothers, from 1966 to 1972. He alternated with the legendary James Jamerson on most of the label's hits.

Babbitt's legendary performances include "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols; "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder; "War" by Edwin Starr; "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye; "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne; "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

One of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry, Babbitt played on hundreds of recordings for scores of stars. His distinctive stylings helped to make many of those songs classic hits. A small sample includes "Little Town Flirt" by Del Shannon; "I Got a Name" by Jim Croce; "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips; "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band; and "(The) Rubberband Man" by The Spinners. His bass line in "Scorpio" was the standard by which bass players were judged in the 70s; those who couldn't duplicate Babbitt's performance didn't get the gig.

Babbitt is featured in the 2002 film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," which documented the Funk Brothers' previously unheralded contribution to the label's success. He also performed on Phil Collins' 2010 Motown tribute album, "Going Back." In March, 2011 he appeared onstage in an episode of American Idol, backing up Jacob Lusk's performance of "You're All I Need To Get By" for the show's "Motown Week."

A full biography of Babbitt is available on his web site.

As a kid growing up in Homestead, PA in the 60s and 70s, Babbitt was an integral part of my daily existence, even though I didn't learn of his contributions- let alone his name- until decades later. Motown was everywhere then- and for me, it still is. I don't think I've gone more than two or three days without hearing something with a Babbitt bass line since I bought "Cool Jerk" at the little record store on Eighth Avenue in July '66.

Thanks, Bob, for all the memories.

(YouTube video: Cool Jerk, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown")

(YouTube video: Love Is Like A Heat Wave, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film Phil Collins' "Going Back" documentary.)


Categories: Bob Babbitt, Motown, Music, Video, YouTube


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